Acceptance

As a teenager I was cursed with erratic mood changes. There were dark, introspective moods and exhausting, creative highs that taxed my parents and teachers patience. My parents tried everything, believing it to just be teenage acting out. Discipline, family therapy, you name it they tried it. All to no avail.

The roller coaster of my teenage years rolled right into my twenties. On my own then, with no parents to reign me in, my world fell apart. In ten short years I was; married, divorced, had two children, became estranged to my children, had a beautiful home, lived in my car, had six jobs and totally ruined my credit. I self medicated with street drugs and alcohol and barely kept myself alive.

Rx as life lineDuring a very low spot during my thirties, while my second husband was traveling, I hit my first suicidal low with witnesses. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disease during that episode and started on the first medication I had ever had for my moods. Partially relieved and partially scared, I religiously took my medications for a few years. My moods were not me being childish but due to a real physical short coming in my chemical makeup. That was a relief. But the fact that this was going to be with me for life, as with most, did not sit well.

On and off my medications through out my thirties and forties, some how I managed to stay acceptably functional. I read everything I could find on Bipolar Disease and keys to managing it. I put in place routines, educated (yea right, I let them know I was moody) a friend or two and tried to manage my condition without medication when ever I could. Without fail, after a period of time, a serious low would hit and I’d have to frantically find a doctor for a prescription. Then, once leveling out, I’d find that I had not managed my condition as well as I thought. There would be binders of depressed poetry and bills for things I did not remember buying. Arg!

Sounds familiar doesn’t it. Every book or article I have ever read, every person I have ever spoken to has a similar story. The illusion that everything is okay and the medication is no longer needed is a very strong foe.

So here I am 300 words into my story and all I wanted to say is acceptance. Medications will be a part of my life, for the rest of my life. I have a disease that can not be cured and does not magically go away. It can though, be successfully managed through medication. And I need to put safety nets in place so that when I think I no longer need medications, I can be reminded of the truth.

How do I out think myself? Answer: Go some place I would not go.

In simple English. I have always been very private about my condition and the daily battles that I wage with myself. So I have crossed that line. I have openly shared with loved ones, and through this blog, that I have Bipolar Disease. I am Manic-Depressive. I have to take medications for the rest of my life. I leave my Rx bottles out where they can be seen. I’ve told my loved ones about indicators that my moods are out of wack. It was emotionally painful and embarrassing to share this information openly. But the pain of sharing pales next to the pain of the unmedicated me and the havoc I reek on my life and those I love.

This is another step that I’m taking to ensure I stay health, happy and productive

Here’s to staying between the lines.

Where did I go……..

For those of that you that follow my blog, I’m sure my absence has become conspicuous over the last month. I’ve been debating with myself for about a week, trying to decide how to explain. The brutal truth won. I’m just going to tell you how it is.

I suffer from Bipolar Disease…Manic-Depression if you prefer. I have infrequent and oh so brief episodes of mania where I am creative and start projects. Then the bottom falls out and the depression comes. I’ve spent the majority of the past three years depressed fairly consistently if the truth be told. And lastly, I have a habit of saying the wrong thing, to the wrong person, at the wrong time.

So in December, just in time for Christmas, life became overwhelming. My skills as a functioning depressed person where failing. By early January, I could not see the top of the hole and desperately starting looking for someone to prescribe my medications. Yes…. I am one of the brain children that thinks she can go off her prescribed medications, self medicate and control her moods through routine, knowledge and shear will.

Like many times before, I failed. (Why do I set myself up for failure?) Bright and early one Friday morning, I found my self wandering into the emergency room. High as a kite from incorrectly dosing a pain medication for the entire night, I made my way to the desk. Exhausted (sleep was rarely visiting), in pain and teetering on a severe depression, I answered the nurses questions. Then the fatal mistake came……”miss, do you have any thoughts of harming yourself or others?” Before I could even think, I flipped off the answer “Ya know, I do wish I’d go to sleep and not wake up.” Bam! There it was, my statement hanging heavy in the air. I could not erase what I had said. All I’d wanted to do was get the pain to stop and “Oh by the way” get something for depression.

The examining room came to life. My personal effects were bagged, my jewelry taken and a rolling partition came down and blocked off all the drawers and cabinets in the room. A guard was posted in front of my door and I could not even make a phone call. Nurses were in and out of the room, talking softly and addressing me as if I would break. I tried to back pedal. A Doctor came in and addressed my mental medical history. I tried every trick to show I was knowledgeable about my condition and had it under control. ALL I wanted was my pain to stop and get a prescription for depression. Then I was alone for what seemed like hours. The shift changed and I got a new guard. Finally, a demure older woman entered my room with a clip board and an air of business. “Miss, would you like a couple of days for the medication to get into your system?” “That would be nice” I said, unaware of the surprise that was coming. “Miss, we would like you to voluntarily admit yourself to the behavioral health facility. It would only be for a few days. It would be quiet and your medications would be monitored.” “That does sound nice” I replied, thinking it sounded like a mini vacation with the benefit of medical science. “What do I need to do? Can you write down the directions? I’ll drive over right now.” Without even looking up from her clipboard she responded to my barrage of questions. “Since you were admitted to the ER and to get you in to the health facility, you will need to be transported.” “oh…..” the light in my mind was starting to flicker.

After a couple of gurney rides and a no siren ambulance ride, I arrived at the facility. A very pleasant woman ushered me into an interview room and started to explain what was going to happen and what I needed to sign. The more she spoke, the brighter the light in my mind flickered. Then the light turned red. She was saying that my stay would be for a minimum of 72 hours and I could not check myself out. How long I stayed would be at the control of a Doctor. “No. I do not wish to stay “ I began. “Thank you for your time. I’ll be calling a cab now.” The hammer fell. My pulse raced. I evaluated the exit routes. “Miss, if you do not voluntarily admit yourself, we will have a judge admit you. You will then be here for 21 days and will need to go to court to be released……….” I quit listening. I’d been tagged as a suicide attempt.

A few hours later I found myself sitting in a pale yellow community ward with a nurse inventorying the contents of my purse and personal items that would not be permitted on the ward. No pens, no jewelry, no shoe laces, no cell phone, they all went into a Tupperware bin with my name on it. No wallet, no phone book, no tablet, they all would not be needed. No bra, due to the underwire, and almost no glasses….. Nothing would be permitted on the ward. My 72 hour vacation at the Hotel Ritz had begun.

I survived the experience. All in all, it could have been worse. I had few phone calls and fewer visits during my stay. I made a couple of self realizations and left 7 days later, a little better for the experience and back on my medications.

I’ve been a free woman for a few weeks now. I’ve put my life back together and re established my routines. I now have friends and family who know, kinda an early warning system if they see a change in my moods and behaviors. And truthfully, I feel good. After keeping my condition to myself for so long and trying to manage it on my own, I now have help. I’m probably more optimistic than I’ve ever been regarding being successful at staying on my medications and remaining a productive individual.

Hence the change in NOL2ME. I’m still going to use it as my own personal podium. But I’m going to focus more on Bipolar and daily life. Maybe I can help someone out there miss a few of the pitfalls I’ve nearly drowned in.

 

For more information on BiPolar Disease, I recommend Julie Fasts’ web site, www.BipolarHappens.com. There’s lots of information and help whether you’re in the driver’s seat or your watching a loved one swerving down the road of life.

Here’s to “staying between the lines”.  Thank you for reading.

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